As I’ve said before, I generally try to use little or no meat when preparing meals. It is very rare that I serve meat as a main part of dinner. One exception is Great Grandma’s baked chicken—first served to me by my Great Grandma Katie Weaver. It is a very simple dish comprised of only three ingredients: chicken, salt, and pepper. But the simplicity of the ingredients in no way produces a simple-tasting final product. In fact, the first time I made this chicken for Robbie, he went through all the seasonings he could think of, trying to guess what made it so good. He was flabbergasted when I told him it was simply salt and pepper.
The wallet-friendly aspect of this recipe is that is uses drumsticks and thighs (or chicken leg quarters if you prefer). It is very easy to find these cuts for $0.99/lb., but I occasionally find them much cheaper by watching the grocery ads. I believe I paid $0.87/lb. at Raley’s for the drums and thighs that are currently in my freezer. That’s about the same as I pay for a pound of frozen peas! The price was so good I bought about 10 pounds and froze them in usable portions.
The higher fat content of the dark meat is essential to the success of this recipe so don’t try to use breasts. Also, the skin keeps in the moisture—don’t remove it before baking.
The key to baked chicken that is moist on the inside and golden crispy on the outside is to bake it covered for most of the cooking time and uncovered toward the end.
Served with frozen vegetables and a cheap starch such as baked potatoes or rice, this chicken makes one easy, delicious, and very inexpensive meal! In fact, if you serve it with white rice, you can use the leftovers to make chicken fried rice.
Great Grandma’s Baked Chicken
Chicken drumsticks, thighs, or leg quarters with skin
Preheat oven to 375°. Spread chicken pieces in single layer in baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover with lid or tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes. Remove lid or foil and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until skin is golden brown.